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April 24, 2009 Permalink

Peering into North Korea

News stories about North Korea have been quite frequent recently, with their test launch of a rocket over Japan, withdrawal from nuclear disarmament talks coupled with a threat to restart their nuclear program, reports that their nuclear attack capabilities may be larger than previously thought - and their recent arrest and indictment of two U.S. reporters on its border with China. Even with all this attention, photographs from North Korea are still restricted and hard to come by. One way around that has been for photographers to peer inside from across the border, a pastime that has also spurred a level of curious tourism in both neighboring South Korea and China. Collected here are a some recent photographs, looking into reclusive North Korea from the outside - and some of the reactions these observations induce. (previously: Recent scenes from North Korea) (37 photos total)

North Korean soldiers walk in an early morning mist with their rifles and spades along the North Korean-Chinese border near the Chinese city of Dandong on April 5, 2009. (REUTERS/ Nir Elias)
more photos
This page lists only comments and the first photo for the entry.
To see the entire entry, with all photographs, click here.

241 comments so far...

#35! Scary!

Posted by Observer April 24, 09 01:36 PM

Fantastic images

Posted by Rachel April 24, 09 01:36 PM

Sad little country, stuck forever in 1920...

Posted by Ligurian April 24, 09 01:36 PM

#25 is a great image!

Posted by Thomas D. April 24, 09 01:37 PM

These photos are so intriguing. Nice to see at least one or two smiles there.

Also - congrats on the NYT "Punch" Award Alan... Nice recogniotion there!

Posted by John April 24, 09 01:38 PM

First gestures, then stones, then a gun pointed at the photographer? Suddenly photography seems like a very dangerous job.

Posted by Ben April 24, 09 01:38 PM

Looks like some of those soldiers were not frienldy. Was the photographer in much danger while taking those ? (man pointing a gun ... and similar)

Posted by Ivan Reborin April 24, 09 01:39 PM

assez inquiétante photos, on ne sait rien de ce qui se passe la-bas...

Posted by diedrik April 24, 09 01:40 PM

wow. in the line of fire no doubt.

Posted by will April 24, 09 01:41 PM

These pictures are awesome. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into the mysterious country.

Posted by Zander April 24, 09 01:44 PM

Fascinating series of images. And now I want to know what sort of equipment the photographers were using!

Posted by MarkH April 24, 09 01:44 PM

Is there green in this country? These photos seem a bit limited in scope.

Posted by eric April 24, 09 01:48 PM

#36 looks like he was caught taking a leak.

Posted by Jose April 24, 09 01:50 PM

Seem like perfectly normal reactions to having your picture taken without being asked all day long.

Posted by world police April 24, 09 01:57 PM

what an awful place to have to live

Posted by sug night April 24, 09 02:00 PM

Worker's paradise, there

Posted by K April 24, 09 02:12 PM

#25 could very well have been designed by Tim Burton as a movie set. Incredible shot!

Posted by Reed Braden April 24, 09 02:12 PM

What are the strange circular antennae seen in #29 and #25?

Possibly propaganda radio aerials?

Posted by Mike April 24, 09 02:14 PM

Great photos, a real insight across the border.

#25 is a beautiful image, especially under the circumstances it was taken.

Posted by Miles April 24, 09 02:17 PM

once again amazing photos, yet nevertheless very depressing. as weird as it seems, whenever i see photos from north korea, i just cant help myself asking myself—what does it smell like? what do those men and women smell like?

Posted by pjs April 24, 09 02:21 PM

Man, what a sh*thole. Shame that they're taught everyday that their existence is actually _better_ than that of the outside world.

Posted by mdmadph April 24, 09 02:23 PM

I wonder how long it will take to readjust the north koreans when the inevitable happens and their Dear Leader and his cronies bite the dust.

Posted by Mark April 24, 09 02:27 PM

For an interesting look inside North Korea check out "The Vice Guide to North Korea."

Posted by Bob April 24, 09 02:33 PM

Love the colors and tones in #30! Beautiful!

And #35? YIKES!

#32, I totally thought those were tanks at first glance!

Posted by Cyndi Montgomery April 24, 09 02:33 PM

Great pictures as always. Scary country, poor people

Posted by Erik van Erne, Milieunet Foundation April 24, 09 02:49 PM

Such an amazing / scary way of life. Oppression to the max, unequaled anywhere else on the planet I can think of. I just understand how they can keep control like that without a rebellion. Maybe it is because people are raised in that culture and act as it is normal.

Such a stark contrast to having a the wonderful opportunity to have such a free life. I never take that for granted.

Posted by Beaker April 24, 09 03:15 PM

Just scary as hell.

Posted by Frederik April 24, 09 03:16 PM

Just scary as hell.

Posted by Frederik April 24, 09 03:21 PM

#25 reminds me of 1984

Posted by Fernando April 24, 09 03:24 PM

One of the only countries that really fascinates me.

Posted by Dave Sanchez April 24, 09 03:25 PM

Grey country, grey people..ugh. I pity the poor innocent citizens of this country.

Posted by Dragonwebb April 24, 09 03:38 PM

Wow, Kim Jong Il is not nearly as healthy-looking as that painting (#20) makes him out to be...

Posted by Sara April 24, 09 03:42 PM
33. never ceases to amaze me everytime i look a their photos

Posted by John Doe April 24, 09 03:56 PM


Possibly because it's not Kim Jong Il...............

Posted by Noah April 24, 09 03:59 PM

That's his father.

Posted by Joe April 24, 09 04:03 PM

Looks pretty backwards, but to be fair it seems not much different from rural China.

Posted by Eddie April 24, 09 04:03 PM

How much must it suck to be stuck in a 1960s parallel of Soviet Russia, while just across the border South Koreans are enjoying a first-world 21st century lifestyle.

With all the freedoms that it entails.

North Korea and South Korea a proof that life isn't fair.

Posted by Eric April 24, 09 04:06 PM

Thats because its not KinJong Il, its his father...

Posted by Jason April 24, 09 04:08 PM

More North Korea..
Some guys trip into the DRNK

Posted by Jhonka April 24, 09 04:13 PM

That's of his father actually (I think)

Posted by brendan April 24, 09 04:20 PM

I was in Dandong this past summer (my hometown in a sense). It's not as tense as it may seem. A solid portion of Dandong is Korean anyway. The difference between the two shores is drastic though, too bad the photos don't show the industrialized Chinese on one coast and the rural society on the other, but you get the picture.
We actually have a condo on the Yalu overlooking Korea. The remnants of war have mostly been turned into tourist attractions. There is a road leaving from Dandong to Donggang that basically has a barbed wire fence separating the two countries. Some areas don't even have a fence, just a line in the grass. Travelling that country road, imagining what life was like if my mom was born on the other side... what a memorable experience. These photographs just how regular folks trying to get back their daily affairs, perhaps unaware of the global attention focused on them.

Posted by Crystal April 24, 09 04:23 PM

Nice 19th Century plumbing there. Doesn't everyone love open sewage in front of their hut?

In 30 more years (if they last) and their decrepit 1950's military hardware has finally rotted, the South Koreans will simply walk across the DMZ and spend the next 50 years de-programming a starving nation.


Posted by tgs April 24, 09 04:42 PM

That's the reason why I love animals...

Posted by Lucas L. Rufino April 24, 09 04:47 PM

I think the photos are biased to make it seem drearier than it is. The way the photos are composed, the time of season they were taken, the types of weather and the locations make me think so. You could easily take a similar group of photos in the US.

Posted by Eric April 24, 09 04:48 PM

I have the same question as poster #18: what are those circular things with a cross, or sometimes half cross, inside? You can see them in picture #3,9,25,29

As far as everything being grey is concerned, it's obviously winter and too cold yet for anything green to grow. But man, that must be a tough place to farm, espescially with simple tools, all these rocks are a farmer's nightmare.

Posted by sola veritas April 24, 09 04:56 PM

North Koreans need to chill out. Geez. Not everything has to be serious business.

Posted by chris April 24, 09 04:58 PM

How the hell did they ever launch a missile? These people deserve an award for building a nuclear weapons program under those conditions.

Posted by Larry April 24, 09 05:07 PM

Great pictures!
Reminds me Soviet Russia in 1970-80's
And just any small town in modern Russia.

Posted by Nick Sushkevich April 24, 09 05:23 PM

i think those things are radio aerials. possiblt TV even.

i have lived in south korea and it looks just as dismal in the winter. interesting pictures/

Posted by jayavant April 24, 09 05:24 PM

This is worth a watch, documentary on the horrors of the country

Posted by Mark April 24, 09 05:32 PM

@44 - I think they're TV or radio aerials (yes, they do have TV/radio - but they're almost universally locked into government owned channels - in true totalitarian style)

The pictures are amazing - they show that these are real people living real lives in a hard and harsh environment...

Posted by horuskol April 24, 09 05:36 PM

I think these images are a little biased: Nort Korea has spring and summer as well.

Posted by Maarten April 24, 09 05:44 PM

People keep hinting that the photographers are attempting to paint N Korea as dreary. All the the pictures in this set that have dates are less than a month old. Perhaps they are just timely? Maybe the recent missile launch is what drove the attention?

Photographers have a very limited options of what they can photograph (what can be seen from across the border), they have to take pictures at range, and it just happens to be early spring. There may be an agenda... but perhaps it is better to give the benefit of the doubt?

Posted by Jim April 24, 09 05:55 PM


That was Kim Il Sung, the daddy, I think.

Posted by robert April 24, 09 05:57 PM

I can understand why everything looks brown in the photos. It is a frickin' cold place for half the year. I was stationed 35 miles south of Seoul and it was horribly cold for half the year and then extremely hot and humid for the other half. I can just imagine how much colder it is way up north by the Yalu.

Posted by robert April 24, 09 06:01 PM

Photo #35 - I had that happen to me during the May 2000 VCD vendor riots in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Military trucks full of soldiers rushing in were passing me while walking along Jalan MH Thamrin, and one of the soldiers thought it would be 'funny' to point his rifle at me - much to the amusement of his colleagues.

Having no military training whatsoever myself (I've actually never even held a rifle), I can tell you that was quite an unsettling experience.

Posted by Mosez April 24, 09 06:07 PM

Re: 18 & 24 - The antenna type is known as a "null loop" antenna. it can only receive signals from the front and back and has a very quick drop off to either side. Great way to give someone a TV that can only get 1 channel. Also easy to spot if someone is trying to get a signal from a different location.


Posted by Eldub April 24, 09 06:14 PM

Awesome photo journalism

Posted by Scott April 24, 09 06:15 PM

Can't the UN spend a few Billion and carpet bomb that country with some clothes/toys/food/water purification tablets/and some outside info.
Really sad in this day and age to see any country let alone one as old as this to be so backward.

Time for a coup!

Posted by Zed April 24, 09 06:16 PM

@43 Whenever you hear someone who visited the country they tell you, that it's a grey and depressing and unbelievably Orwellian country. Maybe check out the "The Vice guide to North Korea" on ( ) or the amazing graphic novel "Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea" by Guy Delisle ( ). Gives you a great insight in this cursed country.

Posted by Schmierwurst April 24, 09 06:33 PM

Yes, these pictures are bleak. For lack of sunshine on most. For the time of year. For the landscape chosen.
But don't think for a second that NK is not up to the image game. The folks allowed to live by the border are fed better, clothed better, treated better, and given many privileges very few in the country get.
There is an image game going on all the time.
Count on it that many NK citizens are emaciated -- almost to Somali starvation standards. Count on it that many NK citizens die on the street. We'll have to reckon with that when more is revealed to the whole world

Count on it

Posted by Craigicus April 24, 09 06:42 PM

It is easy to build a weapon when all you see are threats.

Posted by Chaz April 24, 09 06:55 PM

Looks like the Guards take their job very very serious. Like they are trained to this is the most importend mission - guard the fence to hell ...

Posted by Louis April 24, 09 06:58 PM

#25 is an amazing shot.
Thank you for posting these pictures. Outsiders don't get to see image of N. Korea very often. Good collection.

Posted by Jeremy Mouton April 24, 09 07:25 PM

I visited Dandong for about five days around 1988, and took a tour boat along the Yalu river. I couldn't visit the North Korea side as I was a US citizen. I remember Chinese people I met telling me that the North Koreans were very very poor.

China has made tremendous economic advances since then -- and even then we could see that coming. North Korea is still so poor as these pictures show. And the part bordering Chinese cities is relatively well-off, as someone mentioned.

Posted by jt April 24, 09 07:51 PM

Poster #42 - some parts of South Korea are still like that as well. I live in rural Korea, and though I have faster internet than anywhere I've ever lived in the US, there's an open sewer just like the ones in that photo right outside my apartment building, and along most of the streets in my village.

Posted by Kelsey Freeman April 24, 09 07:54 PM

Kids are kids everywhere.

Posted by John April 24, 09 07:58 PM

I wonder what the North Korean people themselves think of their situation?

Posted by LeoXiao April 24, 09 08:30 PM

I spent 2 years in Korea in 1971-73. Amazing how much N. Korea looks like what I saw in South Korea nearly 40 years ago.

Posted by Mr. Wally April 24, 09 08:34 PM

Evry Body has self protection right. This was the Answer to west threats. We want every thing for us and nothing for OTHERS.

Posted by Omid April 24, 09 08:46 PM

I have a feeling some day the people of North Korea will decide death is preferable to that kind of life and that will be the end of that teapot dictator.

Posted by Eric April 24, 09 09:18 PM

Tai Gostei? Vou Conhecer Sei Là Quando.

Posted by Paulo Cezar Ribeiro April 24, 09 09:29 PM

This collection is totally incomplete without reference to Eric Laffourge's spectacular work:

Posted by Robin Ryan April 24, 09 09:58 PM

What a sad..

South Korea:
Population: 48,379,392
GDP: $1.342 trillion (13th)
GDP Per capita: $27,646 (32nd)
Well known for Samsung, Hyundai, ...

North Korea ??
Population: 22,665,345 (But, the area of N. Korea is larger then S. Korea)
GDP: $40.00 (89th)
GDP per capita: $1,700 (156th)
Well known for .. nuclear weapons?

I simply don't understand what made such huge differences. N. Korea and S. Korea have just same DNA, language, and culture.

Posted by Jean April 24, 09 10:12 PM

This is just fascinating!

Posted by jay April 24, 09 10:25 PM

Great images today. Really demonstrates what a strange place North Korea is, and this is just a tiny corner of it.

Posted by Foraggio Fotographic April 24, 09 10:39 PM

@ 74

DPRK needs a new leader. Time for Kim Jong Il to step down, they need a new breed of leader, one more open to the true deam of marxism, democracy! Kind of like Stalin, a leader like that is GREAT for certain amounts of time, but when they overtake their stay, not so great.

Posted by Tyler April 24, 09 11:06 PM

I echo poster #8's congratulations on your award Alan, another great job done in making this presentation available.

Posted by SimonB April 24, 09 11:09 PM

It looks very much the same as it did in 1951 and 1953 when I was a POW (of the Chinese fortunately) in Camp 1 about 15 miles East of Supung Dam.

Posted by Lloyd Roberts April 24, 09 11:15 PM

I think a few books need to be read, first about the Korean War (which will make clear why the North Koreans are so defensive in nature), and I've just read an excellent book, 'Meltdown, the inside story of the North Korean Nuclear Crisis' by Mike Chinoy, about the realities of dealing with such a 'kingdom'. And, the stupidity of being inflexible by some western governments...

Also, although this horrendous place is as probably as close to a Stalinist system there is, it's probably more like a religious cult than a political system.

As for the poverty, that is a regular concept in many countries, not just Nth Korea, and that includes many that have received western 'aid' (i.e. military support of dictators for access to the minerals, etc).

Yes, I do very much pity the Nth Koreans.

Posted by paul w April 24, 09 11:50 PM

Hey listen to this, the soldiers were throwing rocks at the photographers in #23, essentially freeing the stones from the North side. Kim Jong-Il, will be ticked. Those are "the parties" rocks, perhaps if we get the soldiers to throw more rocks onto the Southern side, we could open a souvenir shop, called "Freed Stones of the North". You all are thinking the same thing as me, aren't you, lucrative, lucrative.

Posted by Ml April 25, 09 12:33 AM

#35 gave me the chills. i hope the lens was a super telephoto.

Posted by aaron April 25, 09 12:54 AM

Thanks for posting this Josh! I had forgotten these were supposed to come out...Hope you're doing well!

Posted by Trish April 25, 09 01:30 AM

Those were awesome pictures. Thank you for sharing them. I just got back from South Korea a month ago. Thanks again. Awesome!

Posted by David April 25, 09 02:03 AM

crazy boss

Posted by daehee April 25, 09 02:05 AM

Wonderful images, every morning the first thing i do is log onto to view this breath taking pictures. Coming back to these series...I agree with what a majority of people have commented. Life has been suppressed to such an extent in North Korea, that people will find it difficult to know what is free air and a free life. I'm an indian and part of the worlds largest democracy. We are an upcoming and vibrant economy with a stable economy. Still half of the time peopl end up taking a dig at the way the system works here. When compared to North Korea I realize how much good has life been to us

Posted by The Traveller April 25, 09 02:36 AM

As an American living in Seoul, South Korea (a short 26 miles away from the North), I've learned a lot about the South Korean's attitudes towards North Korea. (Generalizations to follow.)

In western media, a crazy amount of attention is dedicated to the North, but if there is anyone who really understands them, it is the South. The best way I have to describe the South's view of the North is that the North is like a little brother - a bit strange and aggressive, but family that needs guidance.

Everyone I've talked to supports unification, with the caveat that the borders shouldn't be opened all at once - the South's economy would be destroyed. Rather, they would like to see a unified two state solution - one democratic government, two states. As borders are already well controlled, moving people back and forth in a controlled fashion would be feasible.

Posted by Lamoix April 25, 09 02:38 AM

We were there in the summer. As grim as the economic situation might be, there were children swimming and playing in the river, waving to the tourists. Photographs always show only the part that the persons that makes the selection wants to show.

Posted by zar April 25, 09 03:01 AM

Do you think, they are happy ? I don't think so .

Posted by Ardavan April 25, 09 03:22 AM

#25 looks so backwards, almost surreal and from a movie set.

Posted by medaholic April 25, 09 03:39 AM

How is the photographer a live? In one of the images, he seems to have got caught by the Military? If he really was in North Korea, he would have been shot or at the very least, get his camera stolen. Anyways, nice images!

Posted by Justin April 25, 09 03:56 AM

Century 21 ??

Posted by Uatio April 25, 09 03:57 AM

I as well don't understand what made such huge differences

why are South Koreans such American brown nosers in the middle of Asia

Posted by gnev April 25, 09 04:40 AM

#25 ! Une photo pleine de poésie

Posted by Sam April 25, 09 04:44 AM

I am startled at the picture of Kimilseong
Wow!, this is very fantastic images~~!!

(I'm a Korean)

Posted by For Dongducheon And GyeongwonRapid April 25, 09 04:52 AM

Communist dictatorships are not much fun.

Posted by John April 25, 09 05:03 AM

Poor people. Waht a scary place to live

Posted by Sergey April 25, 09 05:07 AM

Ãðàíèöà íà çàìêå, îäíàêî. (cyrillic)

Posted by Eugene April 25, 09 05:07 AM

This Blog might be interesting for you: (they spent about 36 hours without guides)
The interesting part begins here:

Posted by Pascal April 25, 09 05:58 AM

#25 is fantastic. NK is scary and fascinating at the same time - so isolated and back wards in many respects.

Posted by Jakob April 25, 09 07:17 AM

Do you seriously expect everyone to believe this country consists only of
aggressive soldiers
nobody smiles
the sun never shines
I don't doubt your cameras don't lie, but why does it always have to be such a one sided picture?

Posted by Tom April 25, 09 07:17 AM

#74 They don't have the same culture, and DNA differs for every human being on ths planet. If you're looking for reasons, take a look at history and perhaps plain old randomness.

Posted by Alexander April 25, 09 07:34 AM

looks bleak... :(

Posted by louise April 25, 09 09:29 AM

Thanks for these fascinating photos. The winter mood seems melodramatic-- what does the country look like in spring, summer or fall? This demonstrates the subjective power of journalism nicely.

Posted by Hannon April 25, 09 11:14 AM

Look at #25 and tell me where the green movement should be working to improve the enviroment. I seems to me that an improvement in this kind of place will yield a much bigger return than a marginal inprovement in the developed countries that have already cleaned up most of thier pollution.

Posted by Snowman April 25, 09 01:22 PM


#22 is so representative of sad...

Posted by Anonymous April 25, 09 02:00 PM

This the success of modern socialism!

Posted by Ken April 25, 09 02:21 PM

Looks like they use wood and coal for heating their homes. That definitely must make the air in the neighborhoods hard to breathe.

Posted by Rick Cain April 25, 09 03:42 PM

I was stationed in Osan, S. Korea and did a DMZ tour. I actually got to cross into N Korea inside the DMZ while in the special building that North and South meet in. NK soliders peered into the windows as we were given the tour. The NKs stood in this wierd, imposing stance on both of the corners on their side of the building while wearing mirrored sunglasses. The SKs told us this was the 'RoK Ready' position intended to intimidate us. Pic #44 really reminded me of this.

Posted by Tony April 25, 09 04:13 PM

#25 is perfect !

Posted by Bijaoui Balard April 25, 09 04:18 PM

I've come to look forward to these pictorals.

Posted by Huey Borkum April 25, 09 06:34 PM

I'm an indian and part of the worlds largest democracy. We are an upcoming and vibrant economy with a stable economy. Still half of the time peopl end up taking a dig at the way the system works here.
Posted by The Traveller

The reason people dig at the way the system works is that millions are still living in dire poverty. Because some are not, does not mean the system is ideal; it can be improved.

Posted by paul w April 25, 09 08:32 PM

Photos #7 and #27, taken together, are interesting.

Meanwhile, anyone want to get together and donate some paint to North Korea? Their cities seem endlessly gray and depressing. :(

Posted by Matt April 25, 09 08:44 PM

Spectacular pictures to nourish our imagination and fascination with North Korea.
Thanks for the link to Eric Laffourge's Flickr album which adds a whole beautiful dimension.

Posted by Liz Mitchell April 25, 09 09:55 PM

probably the worst place on earth to live....

Posted by steve April 25, 09 09:58 PM

@77 Tyler:

You noted "Kind of like Stalin, a leader like that is GREAT for certain amounts of time"

You might want to take a look at some history books.

Posted by Stanley Krute April 25, 09 10:26 PM

You can get some information that will help your understanding at ... just type out north korea.

Posted by Wicked April 26, 09 02:29 AM

How much must it suck to be stuck in a 1960s parallel of Soviet Russia, while just across the border South Koreans are enjoying a first-world 21st century lifestyle.

But just remember that the mentalities of the two halves of Korea are identical. Seoul is just Pyongyang in drag.

Posted by Rhinoceros April 26, 09 03:56 AM

Number 16. "Separate" not "seperate."

Posted by DPeterson April 26, 09 07:27 AM

I dont even live in Boston but I read every new big photo column on this page. I love stumble for finding this site for me, these really are some of the coolest pics on the net week after week! this one is a real eye opener about north korea

Posted by John Parker April 26, 09 08:34 AM

Great photos. Thanks.

@Rhino (Comment #118) - I think you're wrong. I think S. Korea is
N.Korea unfettered. Lots of hope, enthusiasm, optimism and courage there.
The North is like a vampire state, sucking the life out of good people.

Posted by Been There, Seen That April 26, 09 11:34 AM

I can draw no conclusion about North Korea from your photographs as they sample a tiny microcosm of little relevance to the people as a whole. As for scary, why don't you attempt to enter a protected US facility and watch the faces of our soldiers and their reactions. I doubt they would be much different. Finally, who is to say that the photographer did not provoke their reactions by his own actions.

Posted by Pariah April 26, 09 11:59 AM

A frightening country.... Good photo's!

Posted by Ronald April 26, 09 01:09 PM

well, from the pictures I really can't see all that oppression you all talk about. the only thing I see is that they pretty much dislike our curiosity. as if to say: leave us alone.
they look poor, but note: most people in the pics (not soldiers, but workers and kids) are smiling/ laughing - is that the propaganda?

Posted by aniko April 26, 09 02:55 PM

i don't see anything scary here. i think a lot of people are applying what they believe to be true to these photos.

while they do appear to be without many modern conveniences like plumbing, i see kids playing, soliders spending idle time playing a guitar and basketball. and people going to work.

a lot of people need to check how they perceive things.

Posted by dave April 26, 09 04:36 PM

The photos remind me of the way South Korea looked in 1952 during the war. My last visit there was in 1987 and what a dramatic change. The kids look well-dressed and happy, but that's to be expected from a border area where they're on display to tourists along the river. I have a daughter-in-law from Inchon whose father came from North Korea. She feels nothing but pity for her unknown relatives across the border.

Posted by Chester April 26, 09 04:41 PM

i' am south korean

this photo amazing....

amazing north korea...

Posted by Syru April 26, 09 09:16 PM

Comment #74... "I simply don't understand what made such huge differences. N. Korea and S. Korea have just same DNA, language, and culture."

It's called communism. And to think some in the west still foolishly believe in it...

Posted by Tony Rule April 26, 09 09:27 PM

Thanks Boss-ton...

Posted by michael April 27, 09 03:07 AM

Only if the Americans accepted the fact that some people want to live the way they wish to live and "NOT" the American way.

Great pictures...Thanks for sharing.

Posted by juan ali April 27, 09 04:13 AM

Image number 25 is absolutely stunning. Beautiful capture.

Posted by Arri Kafoor April 27, 09 04:40 AM

at once, we don't have the tradirionals american comments :
amazzzzzzing, so lovelyyyy, so bioutifuuuuuul !!!!

Posted by Uara April 27, 09 06:11 AM

To Tony @ 109:
Sounds as if you got a bit confused. It's the South Korean soldiers who wear sunglasses and stand in aggressive poses, which are supposed to intimidate the North Korean soldiers. The "ROK" in "ROK Ready" stands for "Republic of Korea", the official name of South Korea.

Posted by Gag Halfrunt April 27, 09 07:50 AM

Four years ago, after a week in Pyongyang, I took the train to Shineuiju and crossed over the Yalu river to Dandong in China. The contrast is surreal. All the pictures are superb and describe exactly what life is there.

There are two great books to read for all of you DPRK watchers: The Aquariums of Pyongyang: "Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag by Chol-Wan Kang" and the masterpiece "Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader" by Bradley K. Martin.

Posted by DPRK watcher April 27, 09 08:29 AM

Only if idiots like #130 would go live in countries like North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, or Afghanistan and live the way those people FORCE you to live.

Posted by Jack April 27, 09 10:52 AM

22 is so hot !

Posted by robert April 27, 09 12:07 PM

3rd picture - directly from Orvell's 1984, directed by Michael Radford

Posted by hideo April 27, 09 12:11 PM

@99 justin: the photographer is still alive because he (she?) is not in North Korea. As the text at the top of the page indicates, the photos were all taken from just over the border in either South Korea or China (depending on the picture). So the soldier could threaten, but could not act unless the photographer crossed the border.

Posted by Calli Arcale April 27, 09 12:17 PM

#32 - I can't help but think of the childhood rhyme, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." Only in this case the sticks and stones won't hurt me.

Posted by Matt April 27, 09 12:44 PM

@136. robert, if you liked that, you'll like this even more:

Posted by Anonymous April 27, 09 05:29 PM


Posted by Wanderley Duck April 28, 09 09:35 AM

Já pararam para pensar? A maioria desses países que se dizem "fechados", se acham melhores que os outros! Prestem atenção a alguns detalhes!!!! Eles são TOTALMENTE DEPENDENTES DE NÓS! Alguém ai conseguiu ver alguma folha verde em alguma daquelas árvores secas? Ou no meio daquela fumaça toda?
Eles deveriam agradecer, ajudar países como o Brasil que sustenta com nossa Amazônia pessoas assim. Iguais mas que se julgam diferentes.

Posted by André Jama April 28, 09 09:47 AM

País infeliz, com pessoas que não conhecem outra coisa que não aquilo que lhes é "mostrado". Perspectivas de quê?

Posted by Dalvan April 28, 09 10:18 AM

These are great photos, and I didn't think everything looked "dreary" as most commenters here implied. Most of the photos, excluding guards, of the villagers and landscape look peaceful. The river looks clean (#26, #31), and the kids look healthy (#33 - btw, I really like that photo -- kind of reminds me of Cartier Bresson's photo.

Posted by Anne H. April 28, 09 10:56 AM

Great pics, though sad, wintery, socialist-y or rather totalitarist-y grey and sad...
Make me shiver.

Posted by Galina April 28, 09 11:07 AM

I can see the draw to communism, the idea that everyone contributes for the greater good of everyone. Sounds nice.

However, those pesky lazy cogs always end up in the system and tear the entire machine down. Although there may be an inspirational leader who actually is considerate of his people and strives to make society better, eventually his bastard brother/cousin/son gets into power and mucks everything up.

Also, it is a very naive thought to think the USA would be any better off if Regan/Clinton/Bush/Obama was given the same unchecked power Kim Jong-Il has.

Communism works for everyone except Humans.

Posted by Doug April 28, 09 11:24 AM

Mostrado não, que so conhecem aquilo que lhes permitem ver. O Socialismo/Comunismo é escravidão em massa, cercada de miséria e sofrimento por todos os lados. A Koreia do Norte da America Latina chama-se CUBA.

Posted by Sandra April 28, 09 11:42 AM

@138: If you check the captions you'll see all these photos were taken from China. The only North Korean settlement visible from South Korea, as far as I know, is the propaganda village - Gijeongdong.

Posted by Tanya April 28, 09 10:04 PM

Loved #25... hauntingly beautiful

Thanks for the whole series though!

Posted by raven April 29, 09 04:55 AM

Image #25 is amazing. Looks like a scene from a SciFi movie. Great collection of photos.

Posted by Bill Fraser April 29, 09 09:44 AM

To the photographer:
Are these shot with CANON or Nikon ?
What mode ? What lens did you use ?
Amazing Long range Telephoto lense you must have use.


Posted by Kilomars April 29, 09 11:31 AM


Posted by Anonymous April 30, 09 08:19 AM

The North Koreans are very poor, but unlike many countries they have lived up to the Ideals of Karl Marx. Only Pol Pot of Cambodia had a better plan than the N. Korea plan. Take a good look America. This is what Obama has planned for you!

Posted by ed sonner April 30, 09 01:04 PM

Is it your camera or is it really so gray and the hills look like shells hit everyone of them. There must be another side with more color and life then your camera is showing. There is always two sides of a camera view .Why showing only one side of it?

Posted by Bern April 30, 09 01:12 PM

It seems that most of the commentators in this blog have forgotten that it was the US Congress and Senate that determined that the land would be turned into the two "Koreas". Bowing to the threat of the Chinese at the time was their way to end an embarassment. As to the brotherly feeling that was mentioned, having my Korean wife even hear about the North Koreans was enough to start a tirade about the "monsters of the North" ; a feeling that was prevailent with most South Koreans that grew up near the DMZ and remember the spies and tunnels.

Posted by Patrick April 30, 09 08:08 PM

"I simply don't understand what made such huge differences."

Jean, it's simple. After the country was liberated from the Japanese in WWII, the Soviets took over the northern part, and the US took over the southern part. Seems like too many folks took the wacky communist ideals waaaay too far, and for far too long.

Posted by bugman May 1, 09 12:14 PM
158. seems the only people in the pictures are the soldiers... may be because they're the only ones who succeed in getting some food... all the other normal citizens must be longtime dead from starvation.

Posted by Bobo May 1, 09 08:45 PM

These photos are nice. But they are not the real circumstances that most of the population are suffering in this very closed country. I know, just like our former president did, I took the time to read a true testimony " aquariums of pyongyang"
Where, today, are the 2 American reporters that have been detained for photographing "border shots" like we see here? To get another glimpse of the photos that should be shown you can watch "the crossing"

Posted by A WATCHMAN May 2, 09 10:08 AM

Pic #20 the text says "Our great leader Kim Il Sung will stay with us forever."

Posted by Morten, Norway May 3, 09 01:47 AM

It is folly to mistake poor for weak. If these pictures prove anything, it's that the government of North Korea cares very little for human life and even less for North Koreans.

Posted by PyneOil May 3, 09 07:15 AM

Do you know why the hills look so grey and bleak? Because those 'living-up-to-marxist-ideals' ate the grass. Seriously.
In communist state there are no ideals. No bright sides. Leader says something, army enforces that. Any dissenters are dealt with incarceration in so-called 'work camps' or simply killed.
Most people living in Europe, America or almost everywhere else simply cannot understand this, because of belief in 'human rights', 'personal freedom' and 'right to seek happiness'. In totalitarian states, those privileges are not worth the paper they are printed on. Even ideology consists of 'doctrine' (set of ideals) and 'dialectics' (rules how to bend and twist the ideals). And yes, you would also praise 'beloved leader' if that means your kid gets some food. Maybe tomorrow, maybe some other day.
Only hope for North Korea is complete removal of government. And even that would be very, very risky for North Koreans - after all (I use it as an example) the transition from 'socialism with human face' to fairly modern economy took 20 years in Poland... and is still far from complete. Still corrupt officials (and even doctors) are the norm, and the law is not to abide, but to bypass it.

Posted by n0t0ryczny May 3, 09 06:36 PM

I would not say that N. Korea is a 'communist' state. Actually there has never been a 'communist' state. The closest example might be Cuba, and the bright side there can be seen in their human development indices:

they actually beat many so-called capitalist states! I'm not defending N. Korea or any other 20th century examples of so-called communism but it is wrong to defame the ideals of communist and socialist theory based on examples of nations which claim to be communist but aren't. it should also be mentioned that there has never been an actual 'capitalist' society either. every time a nation gets too close to absolute capitalism (as it was intended in theory) an 'economic crisis' hits and the gov't steps in to save corporations on taxpayers dollers

Posted by wyle May 4, 09 09:45 AM

amazing, stunning, thoughtful photos ...

Posted by michael May 4, 09 08:34 PM

I like the captures of a good photo journaliam.

Posted by kombizz May 5, 09 02:43 AM

Amazing collection of photographs. Historical and interesting. Well done & thanks so much for sharing with the world!

Posted by May 5, 09 08:14 AM

I am from China ,those picture remind me my childhood time ,which is 30 years ago.....everything was soooo similar to North Korea nowadays......God ,may that never come back to us,and please bless the people who are surviving under the same hardship and darkness as we used to be.....

Posted by Tian May 6, 09 02:32 AM

N. Korea looks like what I lived in China nearly 30 years ago.

Posted by liphy May 6, 09 11:43 AM

kak v Sovetskom Soyuse .... bednost....nischeta......

Posted by Wladimir May 9, 09 12:45 AM

Time travel is possible.

Looking into North Korea is like looking into the past. A dark side of the past, sadly.

Posted by Erik May 9, 09 02:48 PM

You are looking at the beginning of the end for North Korea. Will it be a peaceful end or will we go to war? That is the question. And more importantly how will China react? WWIII?

Posted by Michael May 9, 09 04:58 PM


Posted by Tyler May 10, 09 04:03 PM



Posted by ULUKJUMA@GMAIL.COM May 13, 09 11:04 PM

They have better basketball courts and happier looking children than where I live in New Jersey, USA. Looks OK to me.

Posted by Cal Ripson May 16, 09 10:28 AM

@161: You are absolutely right.
Plus, the real tragedies are surely not visible from the chinese border.

Let's not forget that whatever embargos, sanctions and actions maybe called against North Korea, that it will be these already imprisoned and starving people , who will suffer the most.

Unfortunately I can hardly imagine neither China or South Korea to get really warm with the idea that some day all these millions of deprived people may be free to choose their ways over their borders.

@174:( here, go have a nice read on the "sports section"

Posted by Torsten Schmidt May 21, 09 08:18 AM


Posted by BONA May 21, 09 09:15 AM


Posted by A PERSON WHO KNOWS THE REAL WORLD May 21, 09 03:42 PM

These photographs are spectacular. Just amazing. To be able to view them for free is a real privilege.

I'd point out to the person above who touted Cuba as a functional socialist state that the people there are forbidden from using the internet, or indeed from speaking out against the government, who aren't democratically elected.

However. to the people who say of North Korea, "This is where Communism/Socialism gets you", I'd say wise up.
You could as easily say, "This is where being North Korean gets you".
There's no cause and effect relationship here between socialism and the state of North Korea.

North Korea's main problems are:
1) It is a dictatorship
2) It's government practices isolationism
3) It is subject to trade embargoes

Posted by 4th International May 23, 09 08:23 AM

Pictures dont always tell the whole story, These people are products of their government and cultural lifestyles. This place is evil at the government level.

Posted by Anonymous May 26, 09 10:00 AM

I like how several people here clearly explained how those pictures are biased but there are still people to notice that "North Koreans don't seem very happy".

Openness of mind and critical thinking are definitely rare gifts. Education, education, education...

Posted by Bortglomd May 26, 09 12:59 PM

Intresting... Really amazing photo. This is really one of my fav's sites!

Posted by damir.ME May 27, 09 09:14 AM

dear mr. president, i just want to thank you for everything you do. some days on tv you look tired. please get some rest. do your best and get some rest.

Posted by michele elmore of columbia, sc May 28, 09 03:34 PM


Posted by NICKOLAS May 28, 09 08:18 PM

Great Pictures....thanks from the bottom of my heart and the top of my eyes !

Posted by Yves May 31, 09 06:44 AM

Too bad there are no night pictures. If you look across at North Korea from China at night, all you see is darkness- there are only a few pinpricks of light, because there's no electricity. But if you turn around, and look back at Dandong, China, it's lit up like a carnival. What a difference!

Posted by Jianada Ren June 1, 09 04:42 AM

These are stunning pictures, however but they don't show the "whole" of N. Korea.

For sake of appearance, border areas that receive a lot of tourists are generally better off than central areas that are isolated from foreign cameras.
I cannot bring myself to judge whether N. Koreans are "happy" simply because the concept of being 'happy" varies from culture to culture. Sure, N. Koreans may be famished, have poor utilities, etc. But, its important to remember that that life is all they know. You cannot miss what you haven't had. Most people who see these pictures might conclude that N. Koreans live in horrid conditions because they make these judgments based their own concept of what is "happy" or "wealthy" when in fact most N. Koreans have never experienced western happiness or wealth.
In conclusion, I would like to leave everyone with the idea that people of a certain place are the way they are because that's how they do things in that place, whether it be for economic, political, military, health, or cultural reasons.

It's like how grass is green. it just is. (unless you want to get technical)

Posted by Andrew June 7, 09 11:28 PM

looks a lot better than even the wealthier parts my country (Brazil, a capitalist liberal democracy)

Posted by Victor June 12, 09 08:36 PM

I'm at present in Dandong. What these beautiful pics don't show is that the opposite Chinese city is a sort of Dysneyland for Cold war nostalgic and very pragmatic Chinese make good profit on it. New married couples are photographed with the North Korean "landscape" behind them, while you pay to walk on the old bridge and take a look on the other side through binoculars. That's "iron curtain tourism" in the age of globalization!

Posted by John June 13, 09 09:21 PM

Those female soldiers are HOT!

Posted by PGR June 15, 09 11:47 AM

Even the soldiers look poorly nourished.

Posted by Don Nash June 15, 09 12:02 PM

Such a cruel live in NK.
An ox cart in 21 century?
A bad road?
Unstylished fashion?
Uninterested building?
In this 21 century????

They should open their mind and see their two
neighborhood, the China and South Korea.

Posted by Andi June 16, 09 05:37 AM

Whoever said Seoul and Pyongyang share the same mentality has obviously never been to Seoul and seen a college guy with a purple mohawk dressed head to toe in Gucci, playfully teasing girls while eating a Big Mac, listening to Korean rap on an iPod derivative, and leaning on his dad's Maserati, but I'd agree that all Koreans hated George Bush. South Korea DEFINITELY has its own unique mentality.

Posted by Nemo June 22, 09 09:14 AM

I'm guessing the South Koreans are "American Brown-Nosers" because they don't want to live in the squalor, filth and poverty conditions enjoyed by their isolated, fanatical neighbors to the North.

Posted by Dacker June 22, 09 04:49 PM

All of you people who think that these photos are melodramatic and unfair representations of the county WAKE UP! Ignorance truly is the most dangerous thing on the planet. Why would anyone even want to defend a communist prison of a country that sends journalists to work camps and launches nuclear weapons? Do you think it's just a coincidence that they won't let anyone in or out of the country?

Posted by Katy Mena July 12, 09 11:49 PM

Wow, I think it will be great to use this in my homework! Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Hyeong-suck Lee July 13, 09 07:51 AM

It is very impressive to see how a whole country still strives to survive amongst capistalism.

I am against any kind of dictatorship.

But we should think of what kind of freedom capitalism gives us.

And what I see is people worshiping shopping malls.


Posted by Zhungarian July 13, 09 08:04 AM

Congratulations for the photos of this web site. We would like to propose you some photos and a video about North Corea and the XIII youth festival done during a trip of the journalist Orazio Mezzio in 1989. You can see everything visiting the website Through your comments we would like to create a bridge of solidarity for all young people who fight for freedom.
Thank you.
The staff of "Sorrisi di"

Posted by the staff of "Sorrisi di Regime" July 29, 09 02:50 PM

the nation is full of ordinary folks just trying to get by. I have been inside 3 times and they look and talk and act like we do. Sure the leaders are off planet earth but we have to remember that most folks are the same as us.

Posted by gary moore September 17, 09 04:08 PM

Thank God For The US of A!

Posted by Anonymous October 1, 09 02:38 PM

Pray that God will save North Korea, as He has America - and pray that America will remember God once more...because we have forgotten Him...
Jesus Saves Anyone!

Posted by Faith <><< October 1, 09 05:01 PM

Considering that the photographers were hardly allowed to actually visit the village and were taking long distant photos - I thought they had a remarkable variety and were actually struggling to get across the humanity. Of course there are tons of soldiers, as they patrol the area and are going to be seen the most.

I was really touched by the photographer catching humanizing moments; the soldier playing with a shovel, another playing with a guitar, a woman on her bicycle, and kids playing with big grins on their faces like everywhere else in the world. I thought it was a very honest series.

Posted by Kayla October 6, 09 04:18 PM

Looking at these pictures make me feel like im looking at pictures of concentration camps.

Posted by Eilleen October 8, 09 03:23 PM

"Look at #25 and tell me where the green movement should be working to improve the enviroment. I seems to me that an improvement in this kind of place will yield a much bigger return than a marginal inprovement in the developed countries that have already cleaned up most of thier pollution."

They are just trying to pass the winter cold. It is way better than you sitting on the traffic and polluting the air. Its always easier to trash talk. If you really care about the climate,...I suggest you take walk and leave the car home or stop using a computer. After all those are the garbage that your country ships to 3rd world countries to dispose!!!

Posted by reality October 9, 09 04:31 PM


Posted by MICHAEL COOPER November 14, 09 05:32 PM

The person who took these pictures is a godly photographer! (looks at smokestack picture)

Posted by Stuart November 15, 09 11:30 PM

From ornithologist wiev ......., Your pictures speak more then words . I am environmentalist , avid cyclist and there in North Korea is only habitat for rapidly declining rare birds species I like to see . What make me sad is smokestack picture ............

Posted by Vlad December 8, 09 02:01 AM

i love these pictures of north korea i think they are pretty

Posted by sonia casiano December 15, 09 11:20 AM

Those male soldiers are hot!

Posted by Dan December 24, 09 11:49 AM

is #32 rock tanks or rock cannons

Posted by dave del. February 3, 10 01:32 PM

this iss like so cool nd i like this website.....

Posted by dara February 3, 10 02:12 PM

this is sooo cool like for real this website gives people thoughts

Posted by darra dans February 3, 10 02:16 PM

I live in South of Korea. Unfotunly...I go to North korea not yet.
These are amazing pictures, in picture people are very awful and poor...It make sad feeling...
But these pictures doesn't show the whole of North Korea.
This is just apart of North Korea...

Posted by Soo March 1, 10 06:56 AM

Such a bleak nation....not to mention a very bleak future for its people!!

Posted by steve in NY April 9, 10 12:43 PM

I hope North Korean leaders come out their shells and let their people live a more healthier and happier lives....itz a pity seeing these photos as most of the people are nothing but starved soldiers for a country that has no idea as to where its going and taking its people....

Posted by A hopeful April 11, 10 05:42 AM


Posted by miriam April 12, 10 08:44 AM

I would like to know whats with image 35 if someone pointed a gun at me I would run and was he playing around. I don't play around with guns wasn't he taught better then that.
P.S good photos

Posted by meagansue April 12, 10 06:17 PM

@ 124 ... a lot of the boardering cities in North Korea are 'for show' it's a different story in rural-central North Korea, They most likely have their healthiest and tallest looking soldiers on patrol on these neighbouring borders. The average 10 year old male in North Korea is 8 inches shorter than thier counterpart in South Korea. due to malnutrition, There is a lot wrong with North Korea

Posted by NKObsessed April 19, 10 07:24 PM

#22 - I'm totally in love with her. When we marry I want her to wear that uniform and carry the same rifle with a bayonet. Ah, the passion...

Posted by adam April 24, 10 03:24 AM

amazing photos but
wow you get some idiots posting on this site
the North Korean/Chinese border was a site of massive attempted immigration during the North Korean famines in the 80s.
A rare opportunity to see it now, thanks BBP

Posted by comment April 28, 10 07:16 PM

some people here seem to take communism to mean the same as totalitarianism. communism puts power in the hands of society as a whole, whereas a totalitarianist system puts power in government or a concentrated group. north korea isn't just communit, it's a totalitarian communist state. communism may work if were handled more democraticly -- which isn't impossible. times are changing, and political circumstances can as well.

Posted by kd May 5, 10 09:21 PM

Nobody wants to live this way. These people are living in the early 1900s, in ideology and in lifestyle. Actually everyone wants to live like "Americans" because Americans have a choice. They can live like fat, slow people or like greedy people, or they can live in Florida or in Maui, and live in peace, far away from fundamentalist capitalism. These people have no choice. Do you people get that? They live in Sh*t, all the time. It is true that the people are like other people--- they are bright and industrious and tough. But they have very few of the luxuries of life. Well it is all well and true that some people really don't want these luxuries, but most of the people who curse the "Western" way of life which is now just another phrase for the "good life" do so because they are the have-nots or because they are poor or because they already have such luxuries. Only people who are so angry about what others have and they don't, or who have it already, are blind enough to deny certain pleasures which come at minimal cost but enhance their own lives and the lives of so many. There is so much talk about exploitation but the propaganda is thin and the arguments weak. Yeah, America does a lot of evil all over the globe, and oppresses many people, but it does not only do this, and often it does not even need to do this. To have a quasi-free, well functioning, prosperous society, where people flourish (not North Korea. People f'ing starve there...) a nation does not have to ruin the rest of the world, despite what leftist university professors contend. Every time I think of North Korea tears well up in my eyes. Anyone who thinks this way of life is alright is an idiot. Have you no sense of how far we have come from these days? North Korea, a "free country"? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. The Koreans are a people with great potential. Their bodies and souls are being starved by an authoritarian regime. People around the world are really losing it man, arguing that living in such misery is splendid or even morally acceptable. People should be ashamed of themselves. Idiots.

Posted by Anthony Platt June 10, 10 04:42 AM

Hope deferred makes the heart sick. 3,000,000 North Koreans have died of starvation in the last five years. They are eating tree bark, human flesh, rats, snakes, worms, etc....The hopelessness in their eyes is haunting. The hatred in their actions is the productof fear (throwing rocks at people etc..) Fear is the Fruit of Evil.

Concentrations camps are set up with 100,0000 's of Christians. They drill holes in their noses and wrists and tie them to each other like chain-gang workers. Work Camps just like the Jews lived in during WWII.

The harvest is great, whom shall God send....will you go with me?
To live is Christ to Die is gain!!!

Posted by ruthofthenations June 14, 10 06:51 PM

Thank you Boston dot com for this picture series! As someone who has been there from a friendly country 2 DPRK this is THE most accurate "as is" depiction of "rural" and "town" life in DPRK. Not a bed of roses 4 sure, but I would say DPRK is better than most African countries except for RSA perhaps. And freedom wise, I dunno, I would b hard pressed 2 believe a DPRK man has less rights than a Saudi man. Although compared to West, DPRK (AND MOST ASIAN COUNTRIES INC SINGAPORE) has less rights w/ critiquing the govt....

To put it short, if I was a poor dude I would much rather find myself in a DPRK village than a place like say- Smokey mountains Philippines or Tribal belt of India or in FATA region of Pakistan.

Posted by Arif July 15, 10 05:51 AM

Looks a lot like Detroit, Michigan, USA, except for the mountains and the skin tones of the people: Bleak, battered, belligerent & barren.

Posted by Mari McAvenia July 15, 10 10:43 AM

That rotting old carcass Kim Jong Il even had his fat face posted on the poor and dilapidate N. Korean town and even made innocent children so hostile to outsiders. Kim uses isolation and fear to keep his people in check. May God liberate them soon.

Posted by 朝丁 August 3, 10 08:40 AM

1984 in real

Posted by gerorges ohwell August 4, 10 05:29 AM

I am so chocked by the comments of people on communism. Most of you are just misunderstanding communism and totalitarism, which are totally different. It's scary.

Posted by Starw August 9, 10 10:57 PM

tremendous and sadly true photos. many thanks for raising compassion.

Posted by helena August 10, 10 12:41 PM

AMEN Faith...Was just thinking the same thing.

Posted by Trebor August 20, 10 09:48 PM

I have seen communism close up, and its only another word for slavery. I was stationed in west Berlin during the 1970's and 80's. The country of East Germany and the rest of the Warsaw pact was a paradise compared to north Korea, where concentration camps, mass starvation and political and human torture is the norm. These poor people live in the most secretive country on the face of the earth, most don't even know that a man has walked on the moon. They worship Kim Jong Il and the dead Kim Il Sung as replacements for god, just like the former Soviet Union did with Lenin and Stalin a man who killed 20-25 million of his own people.Time however will change North Korea, but from what to what, no one knows. Pray for the poor people of that country and count your own blessings.

Posted by gary d mathena September 1, 10 06:33 PM

Kim Jong does not let his poor subjects get in the way of his needs. He has been known to order fancy food, caviar, fresh fruits,nuts, liquors, kobe beef, and a long list of luxurys to be delivered to him from other countrys. Millions of his countrymen meanwhile die of starvation .

Posted by Heph October 6, 10 08:27 PM

I can't imagine the horror people there go through. I wish there was something that could be done. I will definitely remember them in my prayers.

Posted by Bedlam November 16, 10 11:57 PM

thies pics of the poeple of north korea are amazzing.

Posted by thandeka November 22, 10 08:49 AM

A look at a country imprisoning itself.These photo's look haunting

Posted by Ken November 24, 10 01:27 AM

South Korea is a puppet state of the USA. If war breaks expect the ROK army to disappear and the USA will have to do the brunt of the fighting.

Posted by Steve November 30, 10 01:28 AM

Excelente trabajo

Posted by adrian spania December 6, 10 01:45 PM

Many western commenters are reacting to scenes of material poverty. Without getting into the reasons for poverty here (complex and in NK's case basically stemming from the unended Korean War), if we are going to react against scenes of poverty, let's compare scenes of poverty from socialist and capitalist countries next to each other. It is preposterous to simply compare wealthy areas of the US to NK and say that is capitalism vs. socialism. Let's compare photos of people living in material (which is not to say spiritual or emotional or intellectual) poverty in capitalist Haiti and NK, or capitalist India and NK. Then let's talk about capitalism vs. socialism. I am not claiming everything about NK is fantastic, just wishing there was the space for authentic communication about these issues.

Also, on photo #25: it is cold in NK and people are heating their homes with the systems they have. My old home does not have central heat and until this year it had a tall pipe way above the roof too, in my home's case it was a transite pipe, rising high so that the carbon monoxide from the old furnace can be pulled up and away from the indoor air.

Finally, poverty exists in the US too--not to suggest any inappropriate comparisons, just to keep in mind:
Children: According to the USDA, an estimated 16.7 million children [in the U.S.] lived in food-insecure households in 2008.
Families: A frightening 14% of U.S. households experienced food insecurity during 2008, an increase from 11% the year before. 49.1 million people lived in food-insecure households — including children, working adults, and seniors. (above stats from the hungersite)

Posted by december viewer December 7, 10 12:44 PM

Yes and we are sending billions to nations that hate us,Whats Obama trying to do is make us a 4th rated nation,And yes it all started with both of the bushs.We have never been so under ratted as we are now.Why cant the goverment keep all the money at home where it belongs to help our people.As we do need it here at home.And stop demilatizeing our protection.As now china is way ahead of us.And getting bigger every year,We here at home is in a very bad situation and getting worse,As long as we have the people we have in washington.there selling us out.

Posted by Leo December 15, 10 08:26 PM


Posted by SHAMSUL SHAMSI December 15, 10 10:31 PM

I am an amatuer photographer. These photos are the ones I dream of taking. More please

Posted by r florczak December 21, 10 10:13 AM

Just a comment that Americans are allowed to go to North Korea, and you can go to this very town (Sinuiju) and see it for yourself. Of course, you can only see what your minders are willing to show you and you can only photograph what you are allowed to, but you can see these scenes in person.

You can also read first hand interviews from people who managed to cross the Yalu river and are now living in China or South Korea. In South Korea you spend months going to a government school to learn about modern life (because you can't get a job if you have no idea what a copy machine, e-mail, microwave or fax is or how to use a phone).

From what I read one problem is that the culture of the state and neighbors spying on you is so pervasive in North Korea that the people who get out never manage to trust anyone. They always feel as though they are being watched.

The other thing I read is similar to what has happened to people in places like East Germany. They find the choices and fear of failure overwhelming in South Korea. In a communist country you may have close to nothing, but you are handed a house and a job. In South Korea you have to worry that you are going to school for something that will be valuable in the future, you have to worry that you are doing a good job so you won't be fired, you have to worry about the economy, and you have to worry that if you lose your job you won't be able to pay your rent or bills. This type of pressure is overwhelming for someone who is brand new to it.

Posted by Scott from NH March 2, 11 12:18 PM
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